Saturday, May 10, 2014

Why the Elderly Matter in Florida's Fight to Legalize Pot

By Juliette Fairle


NEW YORK (MainStreet) — When Robert Platshorn was arrested for a non violent offense that involved smuggling more than 60,000 pounds of pot from Colombia to Florida, possession was illegal in all 50 states, plus D.C. After more than 29 years in federal prison, the husband and father emerged six years ago and became re-involved in the industry as a decriminalization and legalization activist.

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"We win after all this time," said Platshorn who has since founded, a non-profit organization that teaches senior citizens about medical marijuana. "Millions of people will get an effective medicine they should have been able to secure 40 years ago, and the fact that people won't be needlessly going to jailmakes me feel that what I am doing is worthwhile."

The Republican dominated Florida legislature voted last week to allow doctors to prescribe non-euphoric marijuana that has less than 0.8% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to treat severe illnesses but the bill is limited.

"In order for cannabinoids (CBDs) to be effective they have to bind with THC to be accepted by the cannabinoid receptors in the body," Platshorn toldMainStreet. "A high CBD is useless for treating illnesses, such as chronic pain or multiple sclerosis without THC. It's like taking vitamins without minerals. They don't do anything."

Also See: Medical Marijuana Offers Versatility and Care

Platshorn is banking on regular marijuana legalization through a November 4 ballot initiative, which is unrelated to the bill that's currently under consideration by Florida Governor Rick Scott.

"Our legalization will be based on an amendment, which was forced onto the ballot by successful public petition," said Platshorn who lives in West Palm Beach. "The people will vote and once it passes, the governor can't delay or stop it, because it's a constitutional amendment."

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